The Seven Man-Made Wonders of Germany

     Germany is a wonderful country to visit. Besides a long history and a distinctive heritage, the German people are extremely efficient and the country runs like clockwork. There are many sights for the tourist, but my choices as the Seven Man-made Wonders are the following:
     1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria. This fairy tale castle is the most elaborate one built by the most extravagant King in the history of the country, Ludwig II. It sits dramatically at the top of a hill in southern Bavaria, near the Austrian border. The castle was never completed inside, although several finished floors give testimony to Ludwig’s penchant for the dramatic and the avant garde. Neuschwanstein served as the model for Cinderella’s castle in Disneyland.
     2. Residenz, Wurzburg. This palacial Royal residence is in the style of Versailles and other ornate mansions around the world. The architecture is Baroque and the furnishings are resplendent and presumptious. Everything about Wurzburg exudes wealth and standing. The city is located at the beginning of the Romantic Road, in southern Germany. Although greatly damaged in World War II, it has been mostly restored to its former elegance.
     3. Cologne Cathedral, Cologne. This magnificent church is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. It was begun in 1248 AD, but not fully completed until the late nineteenth century.
     4.  Wieskirche, Wies, Bavaria. This incredibly ornate church in a small town in souther Bavaria is known for its elaborate Rococo style and ornamentation. The church is a pilgrimage church because a wooden sculpture of Christ, scourged, was supposedly seen crying. The church was built to house the figure in the 1700’s. Wies lies near the southern terminus of Germany’s Romantic Road, not far from Neuschwanstein (see #1 above).
     5. Marienplatz, Munich. Certainly one of the most elegant squares in Northern Europe, Marienplatz is the main gathering place in Munich Altstadt (Old City). It is ringed by beautiful buildings, especially the Old Town Hall and the New Town Hall. Its centerpiece is a golden statue of Mary, the Virgin Mother, on a tall marble column. The dramatic twin spires of the Frauenkirche, the symbol of the city, are also visible from the square.
     6. Linderhof Castle, Bavaria. Another of Ludwig II’s extravangant palaces, this fairly small, by Ludwig’s standards, mansion makes up for its size with its elegant and unusual furnishings. On the grounds is a Moorish Kiosk and the Venus Grotto, a cave reminiscent of the opening act of Tannhauser, Wagner’s epic opera.
     7. Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. One of the city’s original gates, it consists of twelve Doric columns with Viktoria, Goddess of Victory, driving a chariot-like Quadriga and has become the symbol of the city. Since it was closed when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, it has now become a symbol of unification, since the gate is open once again.
     Other sites considered:
         Ettal Monastery, Ettal
         Ehrenbreitstein Castle, on the Rhine
         Aachen Cathedral, Aachen
         Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin


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